Newborn cleans up after storm

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

NEWBORN -- Great progress has been made in cleaning up Newborn following an F1 tornado that touched down to the west of the town and produced winds of up to 105 mph Thursday morning, according to Mayor Roger Sheridan.

Access to the town via Ga. Highway 142 was blocked much of Thursday, but by Friday morning the roadways were clear, Sheridan reported.

"We've got the streets all open and what we've done is moved everything off the pavement. There's a lot of stuff sitting on the sides of the roads and it will take several weeks to get rid of that, but that's fine. It's out of the way and it's not going to bother anybody," he said.

The mayor also reported that power had been restored to most of the town and the rest of the town was expected to have power by Friday evening.

The Newton County Emergency Management Agency is attempting to get a disaster declaration by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Sheridan said.

"Even though we're a small town, we've got a big heart and we'd be glad to have help," he said.

Locally, help has been coming in droves, as numerous agencies and private citizens have come together to assist Newborn.

"Everybody is out here. I've never seen it work as well as this has, in my experience. Nobody complains. Everybody just pitches in and does something. They've done a marvelous job," Sheridan said. "This is a case where communities have worked together. The county has been very, very gracious and we appreciate it."

Sheridan estimated that more than 100 trees were downed by the powerful storm, many of them oaks that were between 100 and 150 years old.

"It must have been one heck of storm. It only lasted a few seconds. Wham, bang, boom and it was gone. All we had was the residual," he said.

As for whether the town will replant, "We've got to get it cleaned up first," he said.

Board of Commissioners Chairman Kathy Morgan has arranged for Newborn residents who show identification at the landfill to be exempted from fees, Sheridan said. The county is also sending two large Dumpsters out for clean up crews to use.

The historic schoolhouse that recently underwent renovations was undamaged, Sheridan said, and the Newborn Area Heritage Trust Spring Festival and Horneyhead Fishing Tournament will take place today as planned. The festival will be held at the schoolhouse from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Townsfolk will have plenty to celebrate: There were no injuries or deaths reported as a result of the storm.

"Nobody got hurt, that's the amazing thing. Several houses were severely damaged, but even then nobody got hurt ... We lucked out all the way around," Sheridan said.